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Mount Carmel Guild of the Archdiocese of Newark Records (1929 - 1979)
RepositorySeton Hall University, Msgr. William Noe Field Archives and Special Collections Center
Collection IDADN 0040
Size5.5 linear feet (9 boxes)
Collection Description
The Mount Carmel Guild of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Newark was established by Bishop Thomas J. Walsh in 1929. In 1930 twenty-six units, based in Newark, East Newark, Harrison, Irvington, and Maplewood, were organized within the Guild; each unit nominated its own moderator and officers and developed a committee of volunteers. The Rt. Rev. Msgr. E. F. Quirk, of St. Patrick's Cathedral was the first Moderator General of the Guild; by the end of the 1930s, the Rt. Rev. Msgr. John G. Delaney had replaced Quirk at St. Patrick's and as Moderator General. Lay leaders included presidents Mrs. John (Regina) Hagerty of 500 Clifton Avenue (1930-1937), followed by Mrs. Thomas (Mary) Smith (1937-1969). The Guild's early offices were located at 30 Mulberry Street, the headquarters of the Associated Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Newark.

The relief departments, which worked with other Catholic charities and governmental agencies, were particularly prominent during the 1930s. The Guild's relief committees distributed food, clothing, medicine, furniture, coal, eyeglasses, and orthopedic shoes, and paid rent, utility, and medical bills for the indigent. As the Depression deepened a large relief kitchen, built in the basement of St. Patrick's in 1935, fed the poor of Newark regardless of race or creed. This kitchen, open every day from 11:00 am until 2:00 pm, fed over 1.6 million individuals before it closed in 1941.

Members of the Americanization Department, also prominent in the 1930s, visited new immigrants and steered them toward parishes, led classes in English and citizenship, and assisted those applying for citizenship, travel visas, and other documents. Wilhelmina Fissell, 88 North 6th Street, and Frances Fitzsimmons, 50 Leslie Street, were early chairs of the Americanization Unit.

In 1937 a Catholic Deaf Department was organized by the Guild. Later testing, rehabilitation, and medical services for disabled, and psychological services were added to the Guild's mandate.

By the 1970s the Guild had opened a "Multi-Service Center" at 17 Mulberry Street and the Archbishop Boland Rehabilitation Training Center at 450 Market Street. These centers provided screening and treatment for hearing and speech, mental health counseling, pre-school education, and rehabilitation and training for the disabled, among other many services. Low income housing, medical treatment, community programs and other services were offered at satellite programs throughout Newark.
Collection Contents
The Mount Carmel Guild Records consist of correspondence, completed applications, reports, bills, and printed material,

Box 1 (1933-1937) consists almost entirely of bills. Contents include bills for religious books, pamphlets, tracts, Lenten exercises, catechisms, pledge sheets, letterhead, etc., sent to various churches; a bill for $182.00 from St. Michael's Hospital for Helen McGrath of 111 New Street (1936); fruit and produce bills from Schofel Brothers of 175 Miller Street; bills for building and cleaning supplies; weekly bills for frankfurters (120-205 pounds /week) from United Pure Meat Products, 202 Prince Street; etc. A small amount of correspondence includes a letter from C. J. Ahern of the Queen of Angels Rectory, 86 South Tenth Street, stating that during the past month "we were forced to buy some 16 pairs of shoes to get our kids to church... also are giving them 2 cans of milk (8 gallons) a week which amounts to 90 cents a week" (October 1934); and a request from an individual that his donation of $100 go to Our Lady of Sorrows (March 1937)

Box 2 (1933-1937) contains material similar to that in Box 1, including a legal bill from Barrett & Gassert for divorce proceedings of Miriam Jones, 7 Sayre Street (1934); expenditures by Rev. H. V. Colgan of Sacred Heart included glasses for a "poor boy"; gas and electric bills for various individuals; clothing, etc.; bakery bills from Fischer Baking Company for the Mount Carmel Relief Kitchen; and general grocery and hardware bills

Boxes 3, 4, and 5 contain material related to the Guild's Americanization Department, arranged alphabetically by city. Newark-related material includes the following:

Box 4: 3 folders of National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC) material, with correspondence to Miss Anna R. Kerwin, Executive Secretary, and to Rev. Dr. Ralph J. Glover, Asst. Director of NCWC at 30 Mulberry Street. Correspondence from the Port Director of the NCWC Bureau of Immigration in New York contains a list of names, addresses, and case numbers of individual immigrants and families in the Diocese of Newark, including the city of Newark (1929-1938)

Box 6: contains additional Americanization Department material, the bulk of which is Newark-related. Contents include bibliographies and book lists for adult education classes; a handwritten list of books on immigration, naturalization, and Americanization at the Newark Public Library written on letterhead of the Associated Catholic Charities, 31 Mulberry Street; a folder of correspondence largely from Katherine Mc Laughlin, of the Americanization Department of the Associated Catholic Charities, to Wilhelmina Fissell and Frances Fitzsimmons, of the Guild's Americanization Department, regarding immigration matters (1931-1934); and schedules of classes and lectures for teaching English to the "foreign born" in Newark.

Also in Box 6 are:

A folder of material related to the Ironbound contains hand-drawn maps, a summary of community life including sheets by nationality that list population, ethnic organizations, community leaders, general occupations, churches, recreational organizations, health facilities, banks, steam ship agencies, and schools for Czechoslavakians, Italians, Lithuanians, Polish, Portuguese, Russians--the bulk of whom were Jewish, and Spanish (ca. 1930s)

A folder (1931-1933) of minutes of a meeting of Naturalization Aides and teachers of the Essex County Unit. Four of the ten at the meeting were from Newark: Frances Fitzsimmons, Margaret Kowlski, Lucy Tronolone, and Caroly Zybulewski; correspondence, class schedules; a detailed diary of classes, meetings with priests and parishioners, etc.

Three folders of visitation material (1931-1934), with lists of names and addresses of new arrivals in the Newark Diocese and instructions for the visiting these immigrants (It was expected that each individual or family would be welcomed by the volunteers and directed to a Catholic parish with a priest who spoke their language, and given the times of masses, information about parochial schools, etc.)

Three folders of correspondence (1932-1937), including a list of those (most were women) who had signed up to work in the Americanization Group; a letter from Beatrice Winser regarding books for classes; a list of classes in English and Citizenship at Newark Catholic Churches; and notes from meetings with teachers and priests

A list of parishes in the Americanization Unit of the Mount Carmel Guild, with addresses and names of pastors; a list of names and addresses of former pupils of the St. Rocco's, St. Lucy's and St. Casimir's parishes

Correspondence relating to applications for citizenship and other papers

Folders from individual churches, with lists of students and addresses; correspondence mostly regarding applications for citizenship papers; completed applications; lists of steamships with dates of entry and ports of departure

Three folders related to St. Casimir's parish (1930-1934), with of students and addresses; correspondence largely regarding applications for citizenship papers; lists of steamships with dates of entry and ports of departure; citizenship materials with completed applications (The information on the application includes name, address, date of arrival, name of steamship; place and date of birth; mother's maiden name; race, nationality, point of departure; destined to (relative); other passengers; name of wife or husband and date married; names of children and dates and places of birth); correspondence from the Department of Immigration, and Katharine S. McLaughlin of the Americanization Department of the Associated Catholic Charities;

A folder of material related to St. Joseph's (1930-1934), a largely Portuguese and Spanish parish, includes notes from a meeting regarding problems in the parish (1929 ); a letter from Guillermo A. Oneilly, of the Spanish-American Republican Club (1930)

Three folders of material related to St. Lucy's parish (1931-1933), with a list of students in Americanization classes with addresses; iinformation regarding the application status of several students includes interviews, immigration details or inconsistencies in applications, reasons for rejections, lists of steamships with date of arrival and port of departure and arrival

Four folders of material related to St.Stanislaus (1930-1935) include documents and correspondence similar to that in the preceding folders as well as several completed applications for citizenship papers

Box 7 (1930s-1970s): contains lists of committee members, minutes, reports, transcripts of addresses, material related to the Mount Carmel Guild Hearing and Speech Diagnostic Center and other programs (1960s-1970s); a scrapbook of newspaper clippings (1933-1963); a folder of sample forms (1940s); annual reports (1947-1952); histories, timelines; etc.

Box 8: contains material related to a Guild report entitled "Analysis of Population in Seven Counties Which Comprise the Roman Catholic Diocese of Newark, NJ"; information in the report, based on 1930s census data, includes statistics by county on composition of population by race, gender, foreign or native-birth, parentage, citizenship, and illiteracy. Lists, by county, give numbers of foreign-born white by country of birth, and numbers of native white of foreign-born or mixed parentage. Box 8 also contains a folder of correspondence regarding the Mount Carmel Guild Appeal for 1937, with amounts of relief dispersed through outright gifts of cash, payment of rent or utility bills, clothing, furniture, food, milk , etc., the number of visits to the needy; and the amounts of food required by the relief kitchen for one week (including 1,000 pounds of meat, 2,000 pounds of potatoes, 1,400 loaves of bread, etc. )

Box 9: contains general correspondence, minutes, programs, newsletters, financial material, etc. (1972-1975)

Other Newark-related material in Box 9 includes:

A folder, "Mt. Carmel Guild Housing" (1967-1970), with incorporation papers for Mount Carmel Build, an Archdiocese of Newark nonprofit housing corporation; and a 50-page report, and responses to allegations in the media, by the former Assistant Housing Director of the Mount Carmel Guild, who was fired after charges of corruption, financial improprieties, and discrimination at the Tim Still housing project in Newark

A folder, "Mount Carmel Guild Project," with correspondence and clippings, including a letter with breakdowns of white/non-white laborers by contractor and trade for several Newark projects (1967-1971)

Folders on to various Guild programs based in Newark include: Mental Health-Community Mental Health Center, opened in 1969 at 17 Mulberry Street (1959-1970); Archbishop Boland Rehabilitation and Training Center; Apostolate for the Deaf; Day Care Center; and the Center for Retarded Children at 99 Central Avenue
FormatTextual materials
SubjectsEthnic History; Poverty / Philanthropy / Charities; Religion / Churches
Time Period20th Century
Access policyOpen for research
Finding AidYes
Finging Aid URL